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Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)

aka Night Falls on Manhattan

"In a city of nine million people is there room for one honest man?"

Directed By: 
Details: 114 mins · English · R (USA)


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Small Sean Casey
Small Liam Casey
Small Joey Allegretto
Small Peggy Lindstrom
No_movie_poster Jordan Washington
Small Elihu Harrison
Small Morgenstern
Small Sam Vigoda
Small Judge Impelliteri
Small McGovern
No_movie_poster Instructor
No_movie_poster Detective
No_movie_poster Judge
Small Vigoda Assistant #1


Small Sidney Lumet Director
No_movie_poster Robert Daley Novel
No_movie_poster Thom Mount Production
No_movie_poster Josh Kramer Production
Small Sidney Lumet Writer
No_movie_poster Sam O'Steen Editing


"In a city of nine million people is there room for one honest man?"


Detectives Liam Casey (Ian Holm) and Joey Allegretto (James Gandolfini) are conducting a surveillance operation to apprehend Jordan Washington (Shiek Mahmud-Bey), a notorious drug dealer. On a tip from an informant, they venture into a building where Washington is presumed to be hiding. Washington preemptively fires a submachine gun through his front door, seriously wounding Casey. Police backup units arrive and swarm the building, but Washington executes a cunning escape in an NYPD squad car after murdering two police officers.

In a surprising move after the suspect's lawyer, Sam Vigoda (Richard Dreyfuss), brings him in, district attorney Morganstern (Ron Leibman) appoints Sean Casey (Andy García), a newly graduated assistant district attorney and the son of Liam, the wounded detective, to prosecute Washington. Passing over the more experienced executive assistant Elihu Harrison (Colm Feore), Morganstern deliberately picks Casey due to Harrison's expected opposition in the upcoming election for New York County District Attorney. An associate from Vigoda's legal team, Peggy Lindstrom (Lena Olin), begins an affair with Casey.

During the trial, Vigoda does not dispute his client's guilt, but postulates that the police were specifically looking to murder Washington. The defendant corroborates this theory by revealing that he had been bribing certain officers, including one called Kurt Kleinhoff, in return for protection while dealing drugs. Vigoda theorizes that when a rival dealer named Carlos Alvarez offered the officers more money, Washington refused to match it, thus becoming a target. Although inexperienced, Casey mounts a strong argument questioning Washington's credibility and his father provides effective testimony. Casey wins the case, as Washington is sentenced to consecutive life terms without parole.

Morganstern is incapacitated by a heart attack. The mayor suggests new hero Sean Casey be the party's candidate for DA. He wins the election, is in love with Lindstrom and wonders aloud if the many wonderful things suddenly happening in his life can last. They can't. The decomposed body of Kleinhoff is discovered floating near a maritime dock. An address book is found by the authorities containing the names of several officers from precincts who responded to the Washington shooting. After several interrogations, a number of officers confess about their entanglement in the bribery and narcotics scandal.

Allegretto admits he initially lied about his involvement; he accepted bribes while also plotting to murder Washington. Berated as "scum" by Sean Casey for his conduct and unwilling to face jail, a depressed Allegretto commits suicide. Liam discloses to his son Sean that he and Allegretto were not legally authorized to arrest Washington due to an expired search warrant. Liam concedes that he forged a judge's signature with a new warrant.

Following an admission of guilt by Liam about the forgery in a private consultation with Judge Dominick Impelliteri (Dominic Chianese), the judge decides to fill out a new warrant and purposely obviates the technicality. He also suggests to Sean that he destroy the invalid warrant. The film ends with Casey giving the introductory lecture for a new class of assistant district attorneys, urging them to approach their job with diligence.

Release Dates:

DVD : 1997-10-14